Claremont Custody Center in Coalinga, California is set to be repurposed as a medical marijuana production facility, after Coalinga city officials jointly agreed to sell the building to a local firm, Ocean Grown Extracts, to the tune of $4.1 million—conveniently covering the city's $3.8 million debt.
Prior to closure, the prison had a capacity of more than 500 inmates though operations were put to an end when California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations decided to shut the facility down in 2011. Now, after lying empty for half a decade, the building will now become a high-security factory for cannabis oil extraction.
“It’s like the Grateful Dead said: ‘What a long, strange trip it’s been,’” Coalinga Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Keough told the Fresno Bee after he and council members voted 4-1 in favor of the plan. “We listened to the citizens and created a package that was reflective of our population.”
“You can never do anything that satisfies everyone,” Keough added, “but we were pretty darn close to doing that.” It has also been reported that the 77,000-square-foot building is due to create approximately 100 new jobs as well ending a "long journey to medical cannabis legalization for Coalinga" despite medical marijuana use being legal in California for quite some time.
Co-owner of Ocean Grown Extracts Casey Dalton explained the firm has their eyes set on operations being up and running before the end of the year. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer 100 jobs and make safe medicine available for patients,” she said. “We appreciate Coalinga taking a chance not only on us, but on the industry.”
In order for the firm to carry out extraction, the facility must be secured under locked gates with no public access with 24-hour surveillance. As for the building's interior, much of it will remain as it was left. Meanwhile, all employees are subject to stringent background checks which must be passed, plants must have tracking devices on them and the plant must also have techniques for odor control.